1984: Ignorance is Strength
The novel 1984 reveals a society comparable to that of the
year 1984. This society has progressed, and continues to progress
in the direction pointed out by George Orwell. ‘Impossible!’;,
everyone says. ‘We would never allow ourselves to be controlled
that way!’; These same people go home and turn on their
televisions in order to soak up some more ‘truths’; presented by
their ‘honorable’; leaders. These are today’s proles.
Hitler and Stalin burned libraries. Mas Tse Tsung wrote his
Red Book. Ociania, Big Brother, and the world of 1984 have
newspeak. All represent the limiting of minds though dictatorship,
but need to be official dictators in order to repress their followers.
This is evident in today’s world. Ignorance is strength; our
ignorance to repression increases the strength of our leaders,
allowing them to make proles of us all.
Repression is achieved through various techniques of
dictatorship, one being controlled participation. This provides the
proles with the ‘appearance’; of a voice. In many communist
nations, people have been given the right to vote but the communist
party is the only choice on the ballot. In a democracy, such as that
which exists in Canada and the United States, there are various
parties to choose from, but it tends to be a choice of whose
promises may be the least false. Choices are made for the good of
the party so they will be able to maintain power for a longer period
of time. The opinions of the impressionable, little proles are
talented, not conceded. Controlled participation is not necessary in
1984 because the people have accepted the voice of the Party as
their own. This is achieved through indoctrination.
Indoctrination is the ultimate, prole molding, repressive
technique of dictatorships. We know only what the party allows us
to know. They control all areas of communication (the telescreen
for example), education and organization, such as youth groups,
unions, clubs, and churches. The Party takes the role of the
parents, teaching the children how to think like a Party member.
An example of this is the Spies, a group which all children were
involved in, in 1984. They were taught to go so far as to turn their
parents in for thought crime, which is exactly what Parson’s
children did to him. Ultimately, indoctrination is used to limit, or
repress our range of thought.
Today, our governors and premiers are successfully limiting
the minds of students, which cuts off our potential for
improvement. Teaching students how to think is the most
important factor in the future of society. The less we think, the
more ignorant we become. The more ignorant we become, the
stronger leaders get. This repression is what makes us proles.
Winston observed that the washer woman, a prole, ‘… had no
mind, she had only strong arms, a warm heart, and a fertile belly.’;
(page 181). A prole is limited to the basic, instinctive needs of a
human being: to eat, to sleep, to love, to breed, and to live. Proles
are happy with this lifestyle and do not question it.
Human characteristics are what separate the proles from the
Party members, in 1984 as well as in the world today. But what is
a human without a mind of their own? A beast, as Shakespeare
suggested? The future of our world lies in the hands of beasts or
proles, but deep within them lie hearts which may show them the
road to our salvation.
List of Sources
Orwell, George Nineteen Eighty-Four (New American Library; New York,
Pourie, T.L. Political and Economic Systems (Academic Press, Canada: